How Alexander Hamilton's House Got Moved

Alexander Hamilton had a nice house called the Grange built for his family in the countryside of Manhattan Island in 1802. He was only there two years before he was killed by Aaron Burr. But the house remained, and the city grew up around it. Eventually the Grange was hemmed in by trees, apartment buildings, and a church next door that built a stone porch partially across the front yard of the Grange. The National Park Service took possession of the house in 1962, but how do you move a historical home when it's blocked in on all sides? It took more than 40 years to put a plan into place. Mike Brovont of Wolfe House & Building Movers described the process.

The church’s stone porch was problem one. “And we couldn’t go in from the back because of trees,” Brovont says. Wolfe’s plan was to come at the problem vertically, raising the house off its foundation 38 feet in the air to clear the obstruction of the porch. “This way, we could keep it intact.”

Over a period of three weeks in May and June 2008, Wolfe employees performed a structural levitation act. The Grange—which weighs roughly 300 tons—was raised in stages.  

Read how the Grange was moved to a permanent location and see a video at Mental Floss.


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